In the Boac, Marinduque case, “ the committee which oversees compensation continued to delay paying the victims. It now required victims to pass a lie detector test,” according to Jagunos. “An October 2001 report by the consultant hired by Placer Dome to assess all dams and structures at the mine site came out with the findings that five structures need urgent repairs and a dam on the mountain in Mogpog and a tailing pit were in such a bad shape that collapse was very certain in the near future resulting in certain loss of lives downstream.
The Philippine government ordered Placer Dome and the local company to fix the structures or face criminal charges should another disaster occur. In December 2001, Placer Dome completely left the Philippines without warning and failed to fix the dangerous structures until today.
Militarization and human rights violations
“The manipulative tactics of these Canadian mining companies gave rise to violence and grave human rights violations,” Jagunos explained.
Last March, protesters who were trying to prevent the start of TVI’s mine operation by blocking the entry of equipment to the mine site were fired at by company security guards. Twelve people, mostly indigenous people, were arrested.
In the mid-1990s, the company deployed at least 100 armed security guards, set up check points along the roads leading into the community of the Subanen tribe and for seven years imposed a blockade which prevented food and other basic necessities from going into the community. People who attempted to cross the barricade were shot and injured. Company security guards spiked foot trails with hidden nails.
In Mindoro, the entry of Mindex/Crew also showed the sharp increase of militarization in the province.
After 9/11, the government used the pretext of “War against Terror” to deploy more troops in Mindoro. The government exploited the situation in Mindoro to go after political opposition and critics of the government, including human rights workers. Thirty people have been killed in Mindoro since 2001 including leaders and members of organizations in the coalition opposing the Crew’s project.
Role of the Canadian Government
“Despite all these, the Canadian government continues to support TVI/Crew.
Two days after the Philippine Government revoked the permit of Crew in July 2001, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, Robert Collete, wrote to President (Gloria) Macapagal-Arroyo to protest the revocation. Collette also accompanied Crew’s CEO to visit the governor of Mindoro to discuss the latter’s opposition to the mine,” Jagunos said.
The Philippine Mining Act of 1995
The Mining Act of 1995 signed by then President Fidel Ramos aims to attract foreign mining companies to exploit mineral resources in the country. It liberalized the mining industry by removing restrictions and offering numerous incentives such as tax holidays and easement rights – meaning the right of mining companies to remove settlers and indigenous peoples from their ancestral abode.
Almost 10 years of resistance by churches, communities and social movements appeared to have paid off as the Philippine Supreme Court declared in January 2004 that several provisions of the Mining Act of 1995 violate the constitution. However, two months after the Supreme Court ruling, the Macapagal -Arroyo administration reversed its decision that revoked Crew’s mining permit.